Societal constructs

Birker2020

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They all thought that at work about me being 'snobby and upper class' when some young member of staff asked me about horse hunting and of course it got round to everyone that i was searching for a horse to buy and they all thought I was dripping in gold.

I managed to explain that everything is done on a shoe string and when I said that paying £115 every five weeks for a set of shoes and £500 to have your horse put to sleep they realised just how expensive it was! I said I'd had to raid my savings that I'd more or less managed to remain intact since 1998 and had been gifted some off Mum and they realised I wasn't 'a secret boss' or anything else!

I think they have a different idea of horse ownership now.
 

Backtoblack

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Ive had verbal abuse for having a horse all my life I poined out to several that it costs me less sthan they spend in the pub. I dont do pubs, clubbing or eating out nor holidays, non of this does anygood, it costs them more on beer and holidays to Benodorm but Im still seen as posh and entitled.
 

scruffyponies

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I'm an educated professional, but come from a northern mining background. As a result I don't really fit in the UK class structure, and probably never will. My friends include people who are homeless, in trades, immigrants, travellers, fellow professionals, farmers, and one or two with titles. Just about the only thing we all have in common is the horses.

It is my experience that much more bigotry is expessed towards those seen as 'posh' or 'toffs' by people with a chip on their shoulder than is ever shown by those higher up socially.
 

Antw23uk

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I'm middle class, I have a horse .. at home and yes, I look down at peasants!

The reality is, I joke I'm middle class because i own a dyson, have a horse at home and live in a barn conversion .... Im generally very cash poor and if i didnt own a horse i would be significantly more well off! I always laugh at people who say i must be rich to own a horse .... no sunshine, the very opposite actually, im damn poor because i own a horse! :)
 

Fransurrey

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To me, being middle class means disposable income. How people spend it differs, but at the end of the day, if you have a horse, you have the money. I grew up in poverty and believe me it's a world away from owning or even riding horses regularly. So, I would now define myself as middle class, not because I have a horse, but because I CAN have a horse. Exceptions I think would be those who work in the industry and keep a horse as a result, but I've come across a fair few people who are able to do that due to background (living with parents, having partners that earn more and so on).
 

j1ffy

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Working / middle / upper class terminology hasn't been used by sociologists for decades, but it's stuck across our society as it's simple and a good way to abuse or tease others ;) as the OP found out. There is no way I'd be anything other than middle class (professional job, parents also in good jobs (though no Uni degrees), shop in Waitrose, homeowner (with mortgage)) and I'm fine with that. My OH hates being called middle class (he is - was a sales manager and now self-employed tradesman, also shops in Waitrose 😜, well-educated), probably due to the inverted snobbery mentioned higher up the thread.

FYI, here's what the ONS uses: https://www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/...0#analytic-classes-and-operational-categories
 

Deltofe2493

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Interesting where you mentioned supermarkets j1ffy! I used to think it’s very telling about a person where they shop.

Non biological Aunty who is definitely ‘middle’ class, shops in ASDA. Mum has moved countries now but she would be ‘working’ class and shop in Tesco / M&S / Waitrose.

I shop in either Aldi or Tesco.

Like you say j1ffy, sociologists have not used this term years and is completely irrelevant. I’ve always been an ‘ology’ type of person and find these discussions interesting
 

j1ffy

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Interesting where you mentioned supermarkets j1ffy! I used to think it’s very telling about a person where they shop.

Non biological Aunty who is definitely ‘middle’ class, shops in ASDA. Mum has moved countries now but she would be ‘working’ class and shop in Tesco / M&S / Waitrose.

I shop in either Aldi or Tesco.

Like you say j1ffy, sociologists have not used this term years and is completely irrelevant. I’ve always been an ‘ology’ type of person and find these discussions interesting
The supermarket thing is definitely not based on sociological classifications but I think a lot of people use them as shorthand for working / middle class! In reality, I know a lot of people who shop across multiple supermarkets so it's far from accurate 😜
 

oldie48

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Class isn't that important these days but what is important is access and connections. We are solidly middle class but I came from a working class family. My sister in law married" old money" and although she is very wealthy, she lives very much like we do and she certainly doesn't flash her money around. She'd consider that extremely vulgar. What is glaringly obvious is her access to people and how her children have benefited from those connections, not only have they been to the "right" schools and universities, they have grown up with the "right" people. When she dies, her wealth will pass to her two grandchildren, who already mix with people who will have influence in the future and will have inherited a great deal of money/property. fwiw they don't have horses and they are not "county" either but these are the people who end up making the decisions for us, not necessarily in politics but by the positions they hold in society. fwiw they don't have horses and my SIL loves a bargain and introduced me to Lidl!
 

Annagain

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Class is such a weird thing. My background is 100% working class, one grandfather started his working life down the mines but after going away to war decided he was never going down them again so got a job as an apprentice carpenter. He then joined a large construction company and eventually worked his way up to be a site manager (my claim to fame is he sacked a 16 year old Tom Jones as he was never in work, he was always too tired from performing the night before!)

The other was forced to leave school at thirteen because his older brother got a scholarship to Oxford but the only way the family could afford for him to go was for my grandfather to work instead of him. He started as a butcher's delivery boy but his family were still keen for him to have a career of sorts so got an apprenticeship as an electrician at 16. He got a degree through the OU and worked his way up to senior management at the electricity board. His working class roots never left him though and when I started working, I worked with someone who had retired from the electricity board and started a second career where I was. He remembered my grandfather and told me that the electricity board in South Wales never saw the strikes that others did and that was down to my grandfather working with the staff rather than imposing decisions on them. Grandad was long retired and in the early stages of dementia by this point so I'd never have known that if I hadn't have worked with this guy.

My grandfather's success meant my parents got to university and had good careers as teachers as a result. Dad still insists he is working class and won't hear of it when I tell him he's not. I don't consider myself working class based on the fact I am university educated, own my own home (with a mortgage) am comfortably off (although money and class aren't necessarily the same thing) and since Christmas, have a robot hoover. I am, however, fiercely proud of my working class roots and my grandfathers for their success.

My grandmother is a total snob, mainly because in a mining community, her family were shopkeepers. It sounds like her mother drummed it into her that that made them better than the mining families even though her father was a miner to begin with. He sounded like a bit of a wheeler dealer and had made enough money by the time my grandmother was two to buy the shop and leave the mine. He was killed in an accident on his final shift. My great grandmother then ran the shop on her own. My grandmother disguises her snobbery as altruism - leaving food and clothes out for the local 'tramp' (back in the 60s) but treating him like a child if her stories are anything to go by. She also employed family members as cleaners to 'help them' but really I think it was a way of demonstrating her (perceived) superiority.

My inlaws also have a strange relationship with class. My FiL was the son of a farm labourer who did well in the police then had a second career, working until he was 75, so they are now very comfortably off. My MiL is the daughter of a very young single mother who never knew her father (he left when she was 1) and grew up in poverty. Her mother then had another child with another (unknown) man when she was 16 and she more or less brought her younger sister up. This was in the 30s-50s so there must have been quite a stigma attached to it. She has never had an education or a career just a string of unskilled jobs before meeting my FiL. She then gave up work to be a housewife even though OH didn't come along for 15 years. She is the most judgemental, snobbish, person you could ever come across. She hates women who have a career, she hates the state giving help to anyone and she particularly hates anyone she decides is 'common'. She's horrified that I'm proud of my working class roots and that I tell anyone about them and won't talk about her early life at all. I'm convinced whoever wrote Keeping up Appearances met her and based Hyacinth Bucket (but had to add the comedy elements). I'm sure it's a reaction to the shame she feels (or was made to feel) from her start in life which is really sad but I hate her attitude of thinking she's better than someone else simply because she married someone who worked hard and did well for himself. Pulling up the drawbridge after yourself is one of the traits I really hate in people.
 

j1ffy

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Class isn't that important these days but what is important is access and connections. We are solidly middle class but I came from a working class family. My sister in law married" old money" and although she is very wealthy, she lives very much like we do and she certainly doesn't flash her money around. She'd consider that extremely vulgar. What is glaringly obvious is her access to people and how her children have benefited from those connections, not only have they been to the "right" schools and universities, they have grown up with the "right" people. When she dies, her wealth will pass to her two grandchildren, who already mix with people who will have influence in the future and will have inherited a great deal of money/property. fwiw they don't have horses and they are not "county" either but these are the people who end up making the decisions for us, not necessarily in politics but by the positions they hold in society. fwiw they don't have horses and my SIL loves a bargain and introduced me to Lidl!
This is spot-on - the (often unseen) privilege of connections can make a huge difference to life chances, and also the expectations of those around you. To take an extreme example, having been to a state school I would never have considered politics as a career and certainly wouldn't have viewed a ministerial position (or even PM) as something I could aspire to. I then went to Uni and met a lot of people from a very different, public school, background - it was evident that they saw a career as a senior politician as something very achievable and even something that would be expected of them. A number are now MPs, all for the same party (I'll let you guess which one).

This thread has gone way off track - but it's an interesting topic.
 

scruffyponies

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To me, being middle class means disposable income.
Absolutely not. Money has little to do with it - although attitude to money might.
All the money in the world will not make an instagram influencer upper class (indeed flashing it about immediately identifies them as lower-class), and a lady of reduced means, listening to radio 3 whilst corresponding with a fellow academic is definitely not working class, however broke she is.
 

Deltofe2493

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To me, being middle class means disposable income. How people spend it differs, but at the end of the day, if you have a horse, you have the money. I grew up in poverty and believe me it's a world away from owning or even riding horses regularly. So, I would now define myself as middle class, not because I have a horse, but because I CAN have a horse. Exceptions I think would be those who work in the industry and keep a horse as a result, but I've come across a fair few people who are able to do that due to background (living with parents, having partners that earn more and so on).
One of the girls who works at my yard keeps her 2 horses there for free, her accom is free and transport / show entries are covered. I don't know if she is paid anything on top of this. But having horses as a child and very supportive (financially and emotionally) parents have put her in a position where she can live her best horsey life with no obligations.
 

Deltofe2493

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The supermarket thing is hilarious, my OH (firmly middle class) would never come into Lidl with me to shop, he'd wait in the car and I could never figure out why until he told me it was where the poor people shop: I had no idea.....:D
The more you save on the food shop the more fun mons you have for the horse IMO ;)
 

Annagain

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This is spot-on - the (often unseen) privilege of connections can make a huge difference to life chances, and also the expectations of those around you. To take an extreme example, having been to a state school I would never have considered politics as a career and certainly wouldn't have viewed a ministerial position (or even PM) as something I could aspire to. I then went to Uni and met a lot of people from a very different, public school, background - it was evident that they saw a career as a senior politician as something very achievable and even something that would be expected of them. A number are now MPs, all for the same party (I'll let you guess which one).

This thread has gone way off track - but it's an interesting topic.
This is why I get annoyed when people complain about MPs' / MSPs / MSs' salaries. It's already difficult enough for people without the background you mention to get into representative politics, can you imagine how much harder it would be if they didn't have a decent salary or their expenses for having to work in two different places, one of which is amongst the world's most expensive cities, on a weekly basis covered? We desperately need our parliaments to be representative and if we're not careful we'll either have people who can afford not to have a salary or those who are willing to live in rags and starve for the cause. Neither is representative of the vast majority of the country.

I know it's an unpopular opinion but democracy costs and we have to accept that if we're to get the right people to represent us. Salaries in Westminter are higher but in Scotland / Wales people can earn almost as much managing a supermarket. The levels of responsibility involved in those two jobs are poles apart. I know it seems a lot to people earning £20k but for such a responsible job it's really not a huge salary,

Obviously abusing expenses or their positions is an entirely different matter and second jobs should definitely be banned simply because doing an MP's job properly should take all of your working time.
 

Annagain

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The supermarket thing is hilarious, my OH (firmly middle class) would never come into Lidl with me to shop, he'd wait in the car and I could never figure out why until he told me it was where the poor people shop: I had no idea.....:D
My OH won't come in either. I love it in there. We go to Lidl and buy what we can there and then to Waitrose (simply as it's the closest) to get what we couldn't in Lidl. I won't shop in our local Morrisons or Asda though, they are really rough. God knows what that says about me!
 

Deltofe2493

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She is the most judgemental, snobbish, person you could ever come across. She hates women who have a career, she hates the state giving help to anyone and she particularly hates anyone she decides is 'common'. She's horrified that I'm proud of my working class roots and that I tell anyone about them and won't talk about her early life at all. I'm convinced whoever wrote Keeping up Appearances met her and based Hyacinth Bucket (but had to add the comedy elements). I'm sure it's a reaction to the shame she feels (or was made to feel) from her start in life which is really sad but I hate her attitude of thinking she's better than someone else simply because she married someone who worked hard and did well for himself. Pulling up the drawbridge after yourself is one of the traits I really hate in people.
Exactly, it sounds like a lot of jealousy and resentment. I do feel for her as she had to bring her sister up from a young age, so didn't have the opportunity to go out and make a living for herself and had to rely on a man. She's clearly very unhappy with the way life has worked out for her, but it's not other woman's fault they were able to / chose to have a career. I saw an article the other day about how a 21 year old woman of a 7 year old daughter (preggo from 14) graduated from Uni.. I don't know much about the background in how she did it whether she had parent's or partner support, studied in evenings etc but she still did it!
 

Antw23uk

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The supermarket thing is hilarious, my OH (firmly middle class) would never come into Lidl with me to shop, he'd wait in the car and I could never figure out why until he told me it was where the poor people shop: I had no idea.....:D
This made me laugh. Lidl and Aldi are firmly middle class shopping haunts now, dont you know lol! You should see the cars in the car park! Tell your OH to get with the programme, lol! :)
 

Deltofe2493

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My OH won't come in either. I love it in there. We go to Lidl and buy what we can there and then to Waitrose (simply as it's the closest) to get what we couldn't in Lidl. I won't shop in our local Morrisons or Asda though, they are really rough. God knows what that says about me!
Going by this thread.. it says absolutely nothing! Lol.

It's funny because sometimes you go on these forums and people are so quick to be bitchy and give their 2 pence in but it's so lovely to read everyone else's humble life experiences and backgrounds.

It's also so nice to see how everyone takes the class system so light heartedly. From this thread alone with everything that's been said you really can't just pigeon hole people into a 'class', being money, interests or attitude or combination of all three.
 
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Fransurrey

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Absolutely not. Money has little to do with it - although attitude to money might.
All the money in the world will not make an instagram influencer upper class (indeed flashing it about immediately identifies them as lower-class), and a lady of reduced means, listening to radio 3 whilst corresponding with a fellow academic is definitely not working class, however broke she is.
I don't think you can say 'absolutely not' about something so subjective. From the perspective of someone who grew up without money, I can assure you that having it is very much seen as part of being middle class and social standing. The haves, versus the have nots. From the perspective of someone with it, it's not seen as a class thing and it's considered vulgar to discuss or flash cash. Yes, there are lots of other factors, but depending on the perspective, it does come into it for a lot of people. I do take your point though about instagram (yuck) and the 'lady of reduced means', although my experience of people who are broke in the real sense is that they don't spend time corresponding with academics unless it's to further their career and get back in the game.

I did laugh at the Lidl comments. I do know someone who very much judges people on where they shop. I go to any supermarket, depending on what I need, but she steadfastly refuses to step foot into Lidl or even Tesco. She's Waitrose only.
 

Orangehorse

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Realistically though unless your horses are living at the side of the road if you can afford to have horses you earn a middle class wage.
You have to go by wage otherwise you have people claiming plumbers, carpenters and electricians are working class when they earn more than many university educated middle class people.
That's so right! My daughter is having some work done to her house at the moment and she and the builder were discussing private education. His children are at private school, she doesn't think she can afford it!

There is no getting away from the fact that horses are a luxury. I think the BHS say to consider it as running another car. So you can get a cheap car that doesn't cost a lot to run, but it does cost something), right up to the Ferrari. Which is the equivalent of a native pony kept on rented ground right up the the dressage diva and eventing, or even polo ponies.

I know that many people only have their horse, they do not have expensive holidays, or live in a big house or run a big car. I suppose the definition of wealth would be to have a horse AND the expensive holidays, the big house and big car.
 

Deltofe2493

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That's so right! My daughter is having some work done to her house at the moment and she and the builder were discussing private education. His children are at private school, she doesn't think she can afford it!

There is no getting away from the fact that horses are a luxury. I think the BHS say to consider it as running another car. So you can get a cheap car that doesn't cost a lot to run, but it does cost something), right up to the Ferrari. Which is the equivalent of a native pony kept on rented ground right up the the dressage diva and eventing, or even polo ponies.

I know that many people only have their horse, they do not have expensive holidays, or live in a big house or run a big car. I suppose the definition of wealth would be to have a horse AND the expensive holidays, the big house and big car.
I think someone hit the nail on the head earlier in this thread. We're not considered middle class because we have horses, but because we can AFFORD to have horses. Can you determine class from what capacity you keep the horse(s)? Because DIY / Assisted is 100% cheaper, and if we're associating wealth to class is this a corresponding factor? My friend is on DIY as she has other financial commitments (big car / holidays) but I would say she comes from a stereotypical 'middle' class family.

Whereas I am the complete opposite. Mare is on part liv, but I drive a 14 year old hatchback with bits falling off left right and centre. If I had the time I would 100% have my horse on DIY assisted. I'd like to have more control over everything but my jobs don't allow for that. Luckily I trust the yard but I did used to really enjoy doing them and would prefer to be at the yard than pulling bloody pints for annoying customers!! Maternity leave is sounding really good right about now LOL.

I know the person who has the big house, 2 x range rovers with personalised number plates, holidays (Ibiza - extremely spenny place!!), 2 kids with one on the way and 2 horses (all the matchy matchy sets you could dream of). Perfectly maintained appearance and early 30's. But an influencer type always posting on social media with their kids in designer gear etc which is the flashy flashy notion.
 
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Asha

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This made me laugh. Lidl and Aldi are firmly middle class shopping haunts now, dont you know lol! You should see the cars in the car park! Tell your OH to get with the programme, lol! :)
in my former role we used to look at the demographics of shoppers. Lidl and more so Aldi did have a real change a few years back, where it became almost a badge of honour to those who classed themselves as 'middle class' to say they shopped in there. they would then top up in Sainsburys / Waitrose etc

I used to do quite a lot of store checks etc back then and the most unpleasant store to visit was the local Asda. Morrisons on the other hand had quite a few store upgrades, there are some that could be considered actually posh !
 

Rumtytum

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I do know someone who very much judges people on where they shop. I go to any supermarket, depending on what I need, but she steadfastly refuses to step foot into Lidl or even Tesco. She's Waitrose only.
And to take that one step further, a female acquaintance asked where I shopped and on hearing Waitrose near Reading (the closest supermarket to me) she curled her supercilious nostrils and replied that she only ever used Waitrose at Wallingford as it had a better class of clientele 😳
 

bouncing_ball

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That's funny! I go to supermarkets either according to when I pass nearby them, work near them or when I want something specific. They all seem pretty similar to me, and all are civilized!

Aldi and Lidl are not conveniently on the way to / from anything, so rarely go, unless there is a great offer, though it often sells out by 10am!

There is no convenient Waitrose, though there is one in town where I work, so went occasionally (pre lockdown) when in office full time.

Morrisons / Asda / Tesco are convenient as pass on the way back from places. Sainsbury's is closest and do most weekly shopping there, but dont like the parking!

When I lived in Wantage, the local supermarket was Waitrose for everyone.
 

Antw23uk

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And to take that one step further, a female acquaintance asked where I shopped and on hearing Waitrose near Reading (the closest supermarket to me) she curled her supercilious nostrils and replied that she only ever used Waitrose at Wallingford as it had a better class of clientele 😳
That is hilarious

I cant believe you lot go to the supermarket yourselves!! What on earth are your staff doing all day!?
 

chocolategirl

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So.. I showed a colleague a pic of me & my horse at a show recently, and he automatically said ‘how very middle class’

I wouldn’t say I am.. I work 2 jobs to be able to afford the bloody thing lol but people do associate horses with wealth. In effect it is a ‘middle class’ hobby because of the expense.

I mean as long as you’re happy and healthy who gives a toss but was food for thought nonetheless and want to get other peoples opinions??
I know many people who live on benefits and keep horses, is that ‘very middle class’?!🤣🤣
 

Cortez

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To go to my default historian mode (sorry) class is intricately involved with horses, the Roman aristocratic class was called the equestrian class, and the very root of the word knight means rider. A knight originally meant a man (naturally) who could provide himself and at least two horses plus all weapons and "harness" (meaning armour) in the service of the king.
 
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